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A Student-Athlete's Perspective: Bre Hudgins

Brown women's lacrosse player Bre Hudgins enters her junior season ranked 20th all-time in school history with 47 career draw controls. As a sophomore in 2012, she started all 14 games from her attack position and finished second on the team in both points (29) and goals (23).

1. When you think of the history and accomplishments of African-Americans in our country, what jumps out in your mind?
Hudgins: The first thing that jumps to my mind is President Obama. Since the Civil Rights Movement, so much has changed in America; for me, the one thing that symbolizes all of Martin Luther King Jr.’s dreams coming true is the re-election of our first black President, Barack Obama. My grandmother waited for 8 hours in Virginia to get her chance to vote this past November. This presidency is a summation of all the hard work and sacrifice that our ancestors have put in before us. It also celebrates the progress that our country has made in the last fifty years and brings a newfound promise for what the future holds.

2. What do you enjoy and what are the challenges in your current experiences as an African-American student-athlete on an Ivy League campus?
Hudgins: Being an African-American student-athlete on an Ivy League campus is an experience like none other. At Brown you are in a world of such different people that everyone has some kind of unique story or experience to share. Having biracial parents, my experience may be a little different than some others. Both my mother and father have learned to balance out their traditions and instill the most important aspects of their cultures within my siblings and me. Coming from a large Italian family you learn to love everyone and take the bad with the good. I think that lesson has greatly shaped my experience because I am so open with the opportunities that I am awarded here at Brown. The challenges I face are similar to many other student-athletes, just trying to balance the job that is being a Division I student-athlete. However, although this may be considered a challenge, it is still a great opportunity to exceed expectations and take advantage of a great opportunity to learn outside of the classroom as well. Through the women’s lacrosse program at Brown we are put in many different scenarios that most people don’t face until they are already on their first job after school. Student-athletes get the chance to work on interpersonal, collaborative, and team-oriented skills while still being in a place where you can learn from your mistakes and perfect these skills for four years.

3. As you reflect on Black History month, talk about one person who has influenced your life and why?
Hudgins: One person who has greatly influenced my life is my father.  Ever since I can remember, my dad has always been trying to teach my siblings and me the importance of responsibility. He always worked crazy hours so that he could still make it to all of our games, and never once complained. He takes nothing in his life for granted, and to see us succeeding in our lives is what makes him happy. He has shown us the importance of gratitude and hard work first hand, and I am fortunate to have a role model like that in my life. For me, he has always been the one trying to make me understand the importance of education and how fortunate I am to be in the position that I am. Luckily, his words did not fall on deaf ears, and I am now old enough to understand everything he spent so much of his time and energy trying to show me. I only hope to be able to have the same effect on my children. In my eyes, my father embodies everything that the generations before him dreamed their future successors would be. He knows and appreciates all of the sacrifices that were given to get him to where he is today, and has instilled these kinds of appreciations in me as well.  

4. What do you feel is your role in being a leader or role model as African-American student-athlete on your campus and in your communities both at school and at home?
Hudgins: As a race, African Americans are renowned for their athletic ability; when people think of elite athletes of the world, African-Americans are often the first that come to their mind. The ethos of the Brown women’s lacrosse team embodies my role in being a leader as an African-American student-athlete. A part of our mission statement reads: "We want our lives (and not just in lacrosse) to be never ending ascensions." This statement summarizes what my role as a leader in my communities both at school and at home is because it emphasizes the importance of my life being about more than just lacrosse. I feel that my role is to show my communities that student-athletes take their roles as students just as seriously as they take their roles as athletes. I think it is important to show people how multi-dimensional I am off the field.  

5. Projecting forward, what is one thing you would like to achieve or be part of once you graduate to advance the African-American ideal for future generations?
Hudgins: Last summer I had the opportunity to work with a leadership program called SportsChallenge. This was a nine-day program that worked with student-athletes from many different backgrounds and cultures, teaching and building leadership skills through playing sports. I would love to still be a part of this program once I graduate because it is a great way to show other African-American students the opportunities that sports can offer you and how they can further your education. It’s a great way to show kids that dedication and hard work can you anywhere you want to go. Being able to work with African-American student-athletes at a young age will give me the opportunity to instill in them values that my father instilled in me.  Some of the children we work with do not have same support from home and are offered the same opportunities as I was, so this program really gives me a chance to give back. It also allows me to help other children, along with the future generations of African-Americans, be more educated about their future and give them the support and courage to dream big.